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Cheating at Statistics: Across the Front Lines

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 As my "Cheating at Statistics" series grows more and more popular, I read more and more complaints that surely it must have been those sneaky Russians lying in their own documents, for the noble German soldiers could not have been wrong! However, Joachim Peiper's recollection of events seems to discredit that idea.

"The one who quietly and bravely did his duty caused no comment and in his seclusion remained the fool. The one however, who did a lot of hollering, making an elephant out of every attacking mouse was officially commended and on top of it received quick aid in cases of emergency. Untrue reporting is an innermost disease of any army and must always load to a false estimate of the situation and to wrong conclusions.

In the course of time the command realized that of many front line reports, 50% should be disregarded. Since however this procedure had no bearing on the actual situation, many a small honest commander was expected to do tasks which were sheer madness and which had to shake the confidence in his superior. At first the orders wore followed, ­later on one was satisfied with the telephone report of fictitious combat accounts."

The entire article, which is available here, is a very interesting read. While full of typical "Asiatic hordes" nonsense, it begrudgingly accepts that the Red Army was effective in both attack and defense and that the tactics and weapons it used were quite effective.

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